Ten Hotels in Amsterdam

May 9, 2012
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My work takes me to Amsterdam frequently. In fact, in the last 6 months, I have been to Amsterdam seventeen times and counting. So I figured I should write a special post on the hotels I have stayed in Amsterdam.

When booking a hotel for work, especially in a city like Amsterdam, I consider the following factors:

  1. Location – I like to wind down after work by going out for a quick bite or having a drink at a wine bar or even catching a Champions League match on TV at a local pub. So the hotel needs to be close to some good night life.
  2. Price – I want a hotel that doesn’t break the bank. So all the hotels below were less than €175 per night when I booked my stay there, although the Radisson, Grand Amrath, Doubletree, Movenpick and Crowne Plaza are very close to that mark, while the Inntel, Park Plaza Victoria and JL No 76 are closer to the €120 mark.
  3. Amenities – Free wifi in your room is a must (not just free wifi in public areas). Only two hotels on this list did not have free wifi and I never went back to them.
  4. Gym/Fitness Center – I prefer hotels to have a fitness center, especially when I am travelling for work.

The hotels below are all those that I have stayed at for business. Unless otherwise mentioned, they all have free in-room coffee facilities and large flat panel televisions. In parenthesis, I have included the number of times I have stayed there so far and the score at the end is on a scale of 5.

Crowne Plaza

I stayed here during my first business trip to Amsterdam. It is a very conveniently located hotel, within a 10 minute walk from Centraal station and offers all the modern amenities you can expect from Crowne Plaza. They give you a free bottle of water in your room, which is a rare touch. Rooms are large and clean as is the bathroom. The decor is modern and beds as comfortable as they can be. My only gripe – there is no free wifi in the room. This is exactly why my first stay here was also my last stay, but if you can get past that, I recommend this hotel.

Be warned that this is not the cheapest hotel in the area. Inntel hotels which is next door to it is about GBP 50 cheaper and has free wifi.

Bottom line: For lack of free wifi and high price tag, I give it a score of 3.5 (out of 5).

Park Plaza Victoria Hotel

I have stayed the most number of times at this hotel. But that is not because it is my favourite hotel in Amsterdam. Rather, it is because twice, I had a special offer that included free breakfast and complementary wine and fruit in my room. Also, the hotel is part of Club Carlson, which is a points program I like very much.

Formerly known as the Victoria Hotel, this hotel stands right across from Centraal Station in the heart of Amsterdam. The building is a historic building, which also means it is a bit dated. They have two distinct styles of rooms, the regular and the urban. I prefer the urban rooms with their modern, decor, red accents, dark furniture and fresh feel, despite the smaller space. By contrast, the regular rooms are larger, with dated furniture, creaking floor boards and a more traditional look.

Service at the hotel is average, probably because they are always busy. So if you are looking for personal attention, this place is not for you.

A big plus staying at this hotel is the free high speed wifi. For some reason, you have to “buy” high speed internet from your room and then they take it off your bill at checkout. I find this to be odd and bothersome. During one of my stays here, they forgot to take off the internet from the bill, and I had to call to get it adjusted.

There is a nice swimming pool that guests can use, but access to sauna or fitness center costs extra.

Finally, room service is rather expensive. But this is the case in most hotels in Amsterdam. I ordered a meal that cost €23 at retail price, but they added room charge of €7.50 and another €6.00 in service fee. Before I knew it, my bill was €36.

Bottom line: For the high cost of room service, dated rooms (the non-urban rooms) and lack of fitness facilities, I give it a score of 3.5.

Doubletree Hotel

I must say, that out of the ten or so hotels I have stayed in Amsterdam, this one by far is the most impressive. It used to be the Mint hotel until a few months ago when it became the Doubletree.

A few minute’s walk from Central Station, and Dam Square, the hotel is a little more difficult to reach than some of the other hotels here. But it is worth it to take the extra steps to get here.

You are greeted with a traditional warm chocolate chip cookie at the reception when you check in. If you have a sweet tooth, be warned, that these are some of the most amazing cookies you will ever have. Every Doubletree hotel in the world offers these cookies and they are consistently delicious anywhere in the world.

Doubletree Amsterdam

The rooms are fresh and immaculately appointed with modern fixtures and have a clean layout. The use of space is admirable. I can’t commend Hilton enough for maintaining this hotel and its standards since taking over. Bathrooms are small as well, but well set up with White Company brand of soap and shampoo products.

But the best part about this hotel is that every room comes with your very own iMac! I enjoyed not having to hook up and connect my laptop to browse the web. This is the only hotel I’ve seen this in, so kudos to Mint/Doubletree folks for this awesome feature. Wifi of course, is also free here and room service is round the clock.

Also, the fitness center is perhaps the best I have seen in Amsterdam. Weight benches, presses, yoga balls and cardio machines are generously placed in a well set up fitness room that puts other hotels to shame.

Finally, there is a sky lounge on the top floor with sweeping views of the city while you sip on fancy cocktails.

Bottom line: This hotel really has everything. I think I’ve found my home away from home. I give it a score of 5.

NH Schiller

For some reason NH hotels adorn the city of Amsterdam. Along with Barbizon, Kuprowsky and Carlton, NH hotels are all ideally located, either in the heart of Dam Square or in Rembrandt Square. And for some reason, these hotels are listed as five stars on most sites, but please be aware, these are nowhere near five stars.

NH Schiller is smack in the middle of Rembrandt square. You are a few steps away from great restaurants and some great attractions.

The hotel looks good from the outside and walking in, you get a feeling of the old dutch grandeur. The rooms are quite roomy as well, with great views of the square.

However, there is no air-conditioning in the hotel, so it might not be comfortable in summer. I was there in March and it was hot in my room; hot enough to keep me up at night. The bed is not very comfortable either, so my nights here were quite horrible.  Moreover, my bathroom smelled really bad. I was there for two nights, but I didn’t want to bother changing rooms. I did regret it on the second night, but what is amazing is that the cleaning staff didn’t smell it and address it.

You have to pay for internet wifi at this hotel and a lot. It is 18 euros for one day of internet. Mobile internet (iPad included) is 8 euros. In this day and age, I don’t get how high end hotels continue to charge for internet. This hotel should be even more ashamed of this practice considering that even the TV they have in the room is a small screen TV. I believe it might have been 17” or 19” at best.

While I didn’t order room service (you don’t need to with the Burger Bar, and Wok to Walk a few meters away), the menu didn’t have anything to tingle my taste buds.

I was forced to book this hotel because there was a convention in Amsterdam during this particular visit and all my regular hotels were priced too high. Staying here reminded me of why I prefer not to stay in any of the NH hotels in Amsterdam. Great location, but that is about it. So I advise passing on this hotel. In my opinion, it was not worth it. There are cheaper, better alternatives around.

Bottom line: No free wifi. Lack lustre room service menu. Dated, smelly rooms and no air-conditioning and a small TV, leave me no choice but to give this hotel a score of 1.

Inntel Hotel

Inntel Hotel is a hip looking hotel, standing next to the Crowne Plaza, a few minute’s walk from the Centraal Station. The lobby is a hub of activity and has a 1950’s Hollywood feel to it.

The bar and lounge feels like a cozy watering hole for business colleagues and fellow travellers.

The rooms are standard though, lacking the personality that the lobby offers. However, they are quite comfortable, and provide a welcome sanctuary from your busy day. This hotel has free internet but there is no gym or pool, although there are some happy hour specials in the bar.

Bottom line: Decent, comfortable hotel in a great location and ambience and free wifi and a much lower price than others in this post. That is why I give it a score of 3.5.

Radisson Blu

Radisson Blu is a nice hotel on a quiet corner about 7 minutes walk from both Dam Square and Rembrandt Square. This hotel, like Park Plaza Victoria, is part of my preferred Club Carlson rewards program, hence my frequent stay here.

While it is a good overall hotel with all the amenities one would expect from a five star, it is more of a four star hotel in my opinion. Rooms are a bit dated, and frankly they are a little too dark. If you pick the more expensive rooms, they have Nespresso machines and more TV channels, but for the price you pay, it doesn’t make sense to upgrade. If you really like your coffee (and I do), there is a Nespresso machine in the lobby for guests.

Bathrooms are large and nice, with heated floors. This was a pleasant surprise on every one of my trips and was a welcome feature in winter.

Room service menu is a little plain at this hotel. But again, with its location, you can walk a few minutes to satisfy your senses. Meanwhile, wifi in the room is free and fast, and bathrobes and slippers are standard in every room.

Finally, the fitness room is quite decent here, and the sauna is a nice touch, but small and can get crowded with two people.

Bottom line: This is the most expensive hotel on my list, and the free wifi, heated floors and Nespresso in the lobby don’t make up for the price. I give it a score of 3.5

Grand Amrath

A classically and decidedly maritime looking hotel, The Grand Amrath has a very distinct feel to it. The building is an old remnant of the Dutch maritime culture. In random corners of the hotel, you will see paintings, sculptures and glass work that remind you that you are indeed in the Netherlands.

I stayed at this hotel once, and the aspects I loved were the Nespresso machines in every room, the extremely large bathroom, free wifi and the free mini-bar, something I have not seen anywhere else. Even the curtains could be drawn with the click of a button.

The down side, was that my room was not cleaned, which was the first time it has ever happened in all my travels. When I asked the front desk about this, they said I didn’t put the sign on the door to clean the room. But I would argue that a clean room is what we expect, so we don’t think to ask for it. In any case, this was a bit of a turn off, and despite my complaint, they didn’t send anyone to clean. I am certain this was a fluke and one should not expect this to happen again.

The fitness center downstairs is hardly a fitness center. An old treadmill and a couple of other machines do not qualify it as such. However, the pool, although small, was nice, and the sauna and steam room were very impressive.

Bottom line: This is a great hotel, with extravagant amenities and traditional Dutch ambience and luxury. But it does come at a price. I give it a score of 4

Movenpick Hotel

I didn’t know what to expect from this hotel. One of the more expensive choices around Amsterdam, I figured I should give the Swiss chain a try.

The location of the hotel is not the best. While not too far from Centraal station, it is hard to get to and you definitely need a car. I cannot imagine walking from this hotel to Dam Square would be less than 30 minutes, if not more.

The hotel is a typical of a chain hotel. Rooms are comfortable with nice views of the canals, there is a good room service menu and service is quick and courteous.

Some notable things about the Movenpick: they have the largest selection of TV channels and the most number of English language TV channels that I have seen in my travels to Amsterdam. Second, the flat panel TV’s have ambience lighting, a feature associated with the more expensive models. Finally, the room service food, while average, has excellent presentation, almost like a gourmet restaurant. Moreover, their food prices are slightly lower than some of the other hotels. And if you order ice-cream, of course, the Movenpick Hotel serves the delectable Movenpick ice-cream.

Fitness center is better than most, although I still prefer the Doubletree hotel’s fitness center. I believe the main feature is the sauna, the ice shower room and relaxation rooms, which are rare in business hotels.

Bottom line: This is a good hotel for business travellers looking for comfort, luxury and service. It lacks some personality but packs a few pleasant surprises. I give it a score of 4

Hotel JL No76

A boutique hotel in the museum quarter of Amsterdam, this hotel lies almost hidden, on a quiet, unassuming, residential street. This is a small hotel, with personalized service and a treat for the whimsical. So do not expect a fitness room or a swimming pool here.

The decor is minimalist, with white being the central focus. There are Nespresso machines in every room, as well as free internet.

Beds are very comfy and the rooms are larger than they would normally be in a boutique hotel. The hotel lobby has snacks available by the honour system. You eat what you want, and let them know what you took.

If you are looking to stay in a run-of-the-mill 4 star hotel, this is not for you, but if you want something different, exciting, with a more personalized feel to it, look no further than Hotel JL 76.

Bottom line: If this were closer to central Amsterdam, I would be staying here all the time. For its great value, personal touches and decor, I give it a score of 4.5.

Albus Hotel

Steps from the Rembrandt square and the Floating Flower market, Albus hotel is a boutique hotel that might have at one point in time been cool. Now, it begs for maintenance, and a reality check. Not by any means cheap, the hotel’s entrance is nice enough. The lobby and lounge area boast of gentle but flaming light through decorative motifs.

My room was in the basement. A rule of thumb to you hotel operators. Please don’t assume that a guest is ok to be in the basement. At least have the decency to ask. As you can guess, I wasn’t asked. I was told my room was in the basement and that I had been upgraded. So I went down the aging elevator to my room. The furniture had an almost plastic feeling to it. The room was so crowded that I found it difficult to walk. It had three twin beds, so clearly this was a larger room, but with no natural light, bumping into walls and furniture became all the more likely.

Albus Hotel

The bathroom was dingy as was the wall paper in the room and the carpet. It really was a depressing room and I was happy it was just for one night. The only pleasant thing about the room was the Nespresso machine. Even the free internet was disappointing. It was low speed and you had to pay more to get high speed – a sham in this day and age.

The room service menu lacked variety, and in any case, the appearance of the room did not inspire much appetite so I ate out.

Bottom line: Great location, but dated and crowded rooms and slow internet for the high price tag means you have much better options elsewhere. I give this hotel a score of 3.

To book any of these hotels, get the best Amsterdam Hotel rates here!

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  6. Charles on February 6, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    This is a very interesting list. Can I also suggest a hotel with a difference which is the Botel in Amsterdam, this is a hotel in a boat! Its very central and great for budget minded travellers. Don’t forget that the cabins are compact! Overall a fun experience.

    If you are in the Netherlands in April, then don’t miss the Bloemencorso Bollenstreek annual flower parade. I took some photographs of the event for my blog. I hope that you enjoy…

    http://www.dontworryjusttravel.com/index.php/en/europeinfo/netherlands/97-bloemencorso-bollenstreek-2012.html

  7. 4 Star Hotel Dublin on May 10, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    Amsterdam is a great place to spent some time with family. I was on the tour of Amsterdam and stayed in Hotel Movenpick there. The qualities you have listed about hotels are exactly what I found there. I think you have spent a long time in Amsterdam so you better know about all the hotels you have stayed in there.

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